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Incredible High Grade Key 1870-CC Eagle

Article compiled by John Salyer, based on coin description written by James Matthews, Senior Numismatist and Consignment Director, U.S. Coins

Author: Stack's Bowers Galleries / Monday, February 11, 2013 / Categories: United States Coin of the Week
After our incredible January Americana Sale in New York City, which produced the single-highest price ever realized for a rare coin—the amazing $10 million 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar—our upcoming March sale may have a hard act to follow, but a number of exciting rarities are already on tap for that rapidly-approaching event: the Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Baltimore Expo, to be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from March 12 through March 15.

Among those offerings will be a rare 1870-CC gold eagle, one of the avidly-sought coins from the first coinage date of the famed Carson City Mint in Nevada.

This example is boldly struck and exhibits pleasing, light green-gold coloration and a slight degree of rub on the high points of the design. Both sides display scattered minute marks. This is one of the most sought after rarities of this challenging series. Today perhaps 45 to 60 of these are known in all grades. This example is one of the absolute finest seen, not only by PCGS but also by NGC--as the finest seen at both grading services is About Uncirculated-55. Thus, the present coin is likely in the top 10 to 20 percent of those known from this date and mint, and ever so close in terms of quality, eye appeal and overall grade to the very finest known today.

So why is this date so important? First off, this is the first year the Carson City Mint operated and produced coinage for circulation. While that Mint technically opened in 1869, no coins were produced that initial year. By 1870 coinage began, and most of that year are historic rarities and represent some of the most challenging dates to acquire in any series coined in Carson City. The Liberty eagle, with so few known, is certainly one of these great rarities and demand is always strong. Due to its proximity to sources of gold and silver, the Carson City Mint was limited to coining those metals, thus no copper or nickel coinage was struck at this branch mint. However wouldn't it be nice if an 1870-CC Indian cent existed, or an 1870-CC Shield nickel? Were these metals found in that region of the West, they very well could have been a reality today. Needless to say, this Liberty eagle is a prize and is destined to move into an advanced collection where it will long be admired and enjoyed by its future owner.